Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Poland’ Category

Report : Community Standout Against Racism — Monday January 30 6pm @Ashtown Station, Dublin 15

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Up to 200 protesters attended an anti-racist protest in Ashtown (Dublin 15) on a freezing cold night – an impressive turnout to a demonstration called at short notice after news of a brutal racist attack was widely circulated two days beforehand. Journalists from various mainstream media organisations attended.

The Irish Times reported :

Between six and eight men – Polish, Croatian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Indian and Scottish – had been living at the camp since August, without incident they say, until the attack by a number of men and their dogs on Saturday, after which they abandoned the site.

Protesters in Ashtown on Monday evening chanted “Reject fear racist attacks end here” and “Homes for all not racism” while several people carried placards reading slogans such as “everyone is welcome here”.

One speaker at the protest, Myriam Point Marouki, said the “vile beating up of homeless migrants” was making everyone in the area “very fearful” and racism “cannot be left unchallenged,” she said.

“The lack of services in our society affecting everyone isn’t the fault of refugees or migrants who disproportionately find themselves in vulnerable situations and homelessness like the men who were attacked this weekend”. The full report is here : https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/social-affairs/2023/01/30/anti-racism-protest-takes-place-in-ashtown-after-attack-on-migrant-camp/

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Razem: Building a left alternative in Poland – Federico Fuentes interviews Zofia Malisz

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Polish left-wing party Razem (Together) International Office member Zofia Malisz speaks to Green Left’s Federico Fuentes about the party’s history, Polish politics and Razem’s views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The source is an Australian website, Greemn Left Weekly https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/razem-building-left-alternative-poland

Razem supports the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

January 10, 2023

razem zofia malisz

Members of Razem at May Day in Warsaw in 2022. The banner reads: ‘Housing! Jobs! Decent Pay!’. Inset: Zofia Malesz. Photo: @RazemWM/Twitter

Could you tell us about Razem’s history and politics?

Razem was formed in 2015 by a group of leftist activists with years of experience in the Polish green and feminist movements, along with members of the Young Socialists.

The impetus for creating a new party was two-fold.

One was the frustration that emerged under the liberal Donald Tusk government (2007‒14). Whenever voices started to demand the government focus on social spending instead of cuts and privatisations, Tusk’s response was to say Poland was still in its transformation stage [towards a market economy] and that now was not the time to build up a welfare state.

See also

Poland sets up ‘terrifying’ pregnancy register after banning abortion

Poland: Caught between Western and Russian imperialism

Frustration grew as neoliberal policies were implemented at breakneck speed to indulge business elites, while people were denied even modest social benefits and public services were being dismantled.

All this occurred as anti-austerity protests were taking place in Greece, something we supported and that inspired Razem.

The other major factor was the protests against the Iraq war and against Poland’s participation in the occupation of Afghanistan. Several activists who went on to build Razem came from these protest movements.

The revelations of alleged illegal US prisons in Poland used to torture al-Qaeda members created huge outrage. Seeing the Polish government bow down to US imperialism unchallenged — and in fact encouraged by the mainstream, including former Solidarność activists — fuelled frustration on the left.

Razem was formed as an expression of this anger and frustration that had built up during the transformation process.

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Social Movement (Ukraine): Looking back at 2022

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Social Movement (Ukraine) [Sotsialniy Rukh] is a left-wing organisation. These comrades have published a review of 2022, which is full of interesting news. The organisation participates in the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine (ENSU).

Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU) was honoured to hold a public meeting about Ukraine in November 2022 – the main speaker was Sotsialniy Rukh comrade Yuliya Yurchenko, who was joined on the platform by spokespersons affiliated to the Irish Trade Union movement.

Summing up :

2022 was a difficult year for all of us. We hope that 2023 will be better. We will work just as hard for a social, independent and just Ukraine, and we wish everyone security, victory and social progress in the new year.

January 1, 2023 Source : https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/social-movement-ukraine-looking-back-at-2022?fbclid=IwAR2pxU3Kl5MegBhKSoDgz37CUalhQJ24sR2izZrMOo8fvO7yjC3eOsNqrTg
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Can Ukraine Achieve National Liberation, and Defeat the Russian Imperialist Invasion in 2023?

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Can Ukraine Achieve National Liberation, and Defeat the Russian Imperialist Invasion in 2023?

1. The short answer is : Let’s Hope So!

What is the role of the the left, the labour movement, and social movements outside Ukraine and Russia?

The short answer is : Back the Ukrainian Left approach on these issues and try to build the best international conditions for them, whatever they decide.

In this context a growing international solidarity movement, including the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) promotes effective action. https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

There are no meaningful negotiations I am aware of.

How can meaningful negotiations occur without realistic pre-conditions – the obvious ones being an end to the Russian war-crime bombardments and immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine?

In short, activists should differentiate between 1) Talks 2) Negotiations.

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On Ukraine, 8 Months, 4 Weeks – A post published first on the Cedar Lounge Blog

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This article is strongly recommended.

Source : https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2022/11/24/on-ukraine-8-months-4-weeks/

Ukraine news continues to arrive – in some ways so rapidly changing as to make posts redundant by the time they are published. Tomás Ó Flaharta carries a very interesting piece here. Consider though the numbers above. 8 months, 4 weeks and 3 or so days since the start of the war. 

An excellent analysis of the flaws in the ‘realist’ analysis in international political science here from Fred Kaplan in Slate. One aspect of that analysis, along with others, is how incoherent it all is, and contradictory too. Russia acted because it was exercised over NATO expansion, but as Kaplan notes:

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“Putin is talking about the desire for peace again? Amazingly. Because ‘conflict resolution’ is extremely simple. Immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.” – Mykhailo Podolyak, Senior Adviser to Ukraine’s President Zelensky

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Allowing for the fog of war and incomplete exaggerated or inaccurate media reports – convincing evidence suggests that the invading Russian army is losing the war in Ukraine :

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Mr Zelenskiy, said in response: “Putin is talking about the desire for peace again? Amazingly. Because ‘conflict resolution’ is extremely simple. Immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.”

The astute analyst Mary Scully notes that Russia’s few powerful allies, Modi and Xi Jinping – leaders of India and China, are offering grim advice to Kremlin boss Putin :

“Supporters of Putin’s war are looking pretty damn foolish now that no less a war criminal than Modi publicly confronted Putin telling him to end the war against Ukraine & Putin acknowledged that China’s Xi Jinping privately expressed the same position. Russia has been able to sustain western sanctions only because India & China provided a financial lifeline by increasing trade, especially the purchase of oil & natural gas, from Russia.

It will be interesting to watch the song & dance of the war mongering progressives as they try to coordinate their apologetics with China & India’s realpolitik.”

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English Queen Kicks Bucket : Loyal Mass Media Bans Joke: “the shocking death of a 96-year-old woman from natural causes” – London Forelock-Tugging Mocked

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American Columbia Journalism Review retaliates – reporting the Sky multinational media corporation

removed jokes including a reference to the Queen’s passing as “the shocking death of a 96-year-old woman from natural causes.”

New York based Irish-American Correspondent Joan McKiernan circulates real news :

These are just some of the things that have been canceled—or stopped, or banned, or discouraged, or quietened, or postponed, or revoked—somewhere in the UK since the Queen died last week, out of respect or to facilitate other people paying theirs. (When the British network Sky rebroadcast the latest episode of Oliver’s US late-night show, it removed jokes including a reference to the Queen’s passing as “the shocking death of a 96-year-old woman from natural causes.” Sky declined to comment to Deadline about the changes.) Beside those that have affected the media directly, all the cancellations have provided the press with a running storyline this week, alongside a packed calendar of official mourning. They have occasioned much comment on social media, too. A Twitter account called @GrieveWatch has grown in popularity, highlighting not only cancellations but overbaked expressions of public grief. Currently pinned to the top of its feed is a video posted by a prominent right-wing commentator—who once mocked Meghan and Harry for attending a “personal” remembrance event with a photographer present—showing him engaging in some “quiet reflection” outside Buckingham Palace. “The important thing is that you filmed it,” @GrieveWatch wrote.

Correspondent Jon Allsop decided to sacrifice 12 hours of his life – the things some people must do to earn a crust – life is often cruel :

Of course, the packed calendar of official mourning has been themajor storyline this past week across major news organizations. It’s been a huge deal globally, including in the US, with networks dispatching staff to London, cutting into programming to broadcast the latest ceremony, marveling at British “pomp and circumstances” (sic), and lining up plummy-voiced royal commentators straight from British-stereotype central casting. But British news outlets, as is only right and proper, have shown the way.

Yesterday, I settled in at 8am local time with the intention of watching twelve consecutive hours of British TV news coverage; the mourning calendar was relatively empty—King Charles III took the day off—but Britain’s mourning period still had days to run, and I was curious to see if major networks had run out of things to say yet. Reader, I did not quite make it twelve hours, though I gave it my best shot. I started on the BBC, where news from the outside world (the war in Ukraine, the retirement of the tennis great Roger Federer) occasionally punched through, but where the biggest story, to begin with at least, was the real-time progress of a line—soon known to Brits simply as The Queue—that snaked for miles through central London as mourners waited hours for the chance to observe the Queen’s casket lying in state. (The BBC is also livestreaming footage of the casket, “for people who want to pay their respects virtually.”) Reporters queued up themselves to interview people in The Queue. Some particularly intrepid journalists joined it themselves and reported back, including a science correspondent at The Times of London, who was the twenty-second person in line. His boss had decided there was “nothing happening in science,” he wrote. Nothing at all.

Back on the BBC, a reporter was talking to two women who had brought loved ones’ ashes to see the Queen. Half an hour later, the Archbishop of Canterbury appeared on-screen in a high-vis jacket and started to interview people in The Queue as a reporter tried to interview him. At 10:47am or so, the BBC cut away from The Queue for a video interview with a man who edits a newsletter called Our Corgi World. The man batted away concerns that the Queen’s death could tank the popularity of corgis as pets while shoveling treats into his own dogs’ mouths. “Edward, Mungo & Barney, corgis,” the on-screen chyron read. After that, I cut away from the BBC to watch Sky News, which was also interviewing people in The Queue: a woman with a net over her face in tribute to the Queen’s love of horse-riding; a man who was born on the same day as King Charles and claimed he’d received extra milk rations and similar “goodies” from the palace as a result. “There’s been a royal vein through my life from day one,” the man said. If he seemed happy to talk at length, the same couldn’t be said for interviewees in a different, faster-moving section of The Queue, with a reporter having to gallop to keep pace with them as if she were staking out a recalcitrant politician. (Talk about queue anon.)

Marty. Turner, Irish Times, September 17 2022

Reader, if you can bear it, click the source for more :

Source : https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/queen_mourning_media_coverage.php?utm_source=CJR+Daily+News&utm_campaign=7bcb053024-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_11_11_06_33_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9c93f57676-7bcb053024-174914994&mc_cid=7bcb053024&mc_eid=b33e596e19

Support Ukrainian Resistance and Disempower Fossil Capital

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Several left-wing authors co-operate here arguing for support to Ukrainian Resistance against the Russian imperialist invasion. The authors come from several different parts of Europe.

This is the source : http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63931

Thursday 18 August 2022, by BUDRAITSKIS Ilya, DUTCHAK Oksana, ETZBACH Harald, GEHRKE Bernd, GELINSKY Eva, HÜRTGEN Renate, KOWALEWSKI Zbigniew Marcin , LOMONOSOVA Nataliia, PEREKHODA Hanna, PILASH Denis, POPOVYCH Zakhar, SCHMID Philipp, WÄLZ Christoph, WIELGOSZ Przemysław, ZELLER Christian

Similar debates are occurring on the left in Ireland : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/08/22/a-strange-policy-is-reviewed-support-ukraines-resistance-against-an-imperialist-russian-invasion-politically-but-oppose-giving-arms-to-the-resisters-a-critique-of-iri/

On June 9, Heino Berg, Thies Gleiss, Jakob Schäfer, Matthias Schindler, Winfried Wolf published a detailed statement in Junge Welt in which they advocated an “anti-militarist defeatism” and the abandonment of Ukraine’s military resistance to the Russian war of occupation. [1] We take her article as an opportunity for a fundamental response about a necessary anti-imperialist ecosocialist perspective committed to global solidarity. We are appalled at the way they bend the reality of war in this article and ultimately argue in favor of Putin’s oligarch regime. Paternalistically, they recommend that the Ukrainian population submit to Russian occupation in order to end the war. The authors make not the slightest reference to socialist, feminist, and anarchist forces in Ukraine and Russia. They argue from a distinctly German perspective. They are not alone in this. Many statements of the old peace movement turn against the “escalation of the West” and “forget” that Russia has already escalated long ago and wants to systematically destroy Ukrainian society. The statement of the five authors ignores anti-imperialist solidarity to such an extent that we consider it appropriate to set our arguments against it.

Reversal of Responsibility

The statement of the authors reads like many contributions from the old peace movement and a one-sided sham anti-imperialist left. Of course, at the beginning of the text they condemn the invasion of Ukraine “without any reservation or relativization.” But afterwards they do exactly that: they relativize the aggression of the Putin oligarchy. Under the title “No Interest in Ceasefire,” they explain in detail why NATO is much worse than Russia and that the West, first and foremost the U.S., does not want an early ceasefire but is primarily using the Ukrainian battlefield to weaken Russia.

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“Don’t exaggerate the influence of Russian propaganda” Ukrainian socialist Taras Bilous serves in the military – and right from there he fights the stereotypes of the Western left about Ukraine (and Russia). We spoke to him

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Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF) http://www.europe-solidaire.org/ has published and translated an exceptionally good interview about Ukraine :

Taras Bilous is a Ukrainian socialist, editor of the left-wing intellectual magazine Spilne and an activist in the Social Movement. Bilous has been serving in Ukraine’s territorial defence forces since early March. And in his spare time, he engages in lively polemics with Western left-wing activists, intellectuals and politicians on Twitter and in the most authoritative left-wing publications about the need for solidarity with Ukraine. “Meduza spoke with Taras Bilous about where foreign stereotypes about Russia and Ukraine come from and what can be done about them.

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63762&fbclid=IwAR3aCeR6YPuBIZBTWwUkxBZe9RMegOD1pYePv2CQ_IPm5nt4nVMF_clzobQ

See also : https://commons.com.ua/en/


In Russia there is rather little knowledge about the inner workings of Ukrainian politics, it is usually discussed only in the context of “pro-Russian – pro-Western”. Please explain what place you and Social Movement have in it.

We should start with the fact that in Ukraine, as in Russia, there are systemic and non-systemic politics.

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The 1914 Howth Gun-Running in Ireland : History Lesson for 21st Century Leftists who oppose a supply of weapons to members of the Ukrainian resistance

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According to many sections of the left in Ireland and abroad, Ukrainians should not be supplied with weapons to resist the Russian invaders. Conor Kostick, an anti-war activist and a historian, labels this policy “Evasionism”. Here are accounts of the July 26 1914 Howth Gun-Running, followed by an introduction to left-wing Evasionism.

Remembering The Howth Gun-Running

On July 26th 1914, guns purchased in Germany for the Irish Volunteers were brought to Howth by Erskine Childers upon his yacht the Asgard.

In Howth they were met by the Fianna Eireann led by Bulmer Hobson & Countess Markievicz with carts and wheelbarrows to unload the guns, members of the volunteers were also present in case the police showed up

The harbour master informed the authorities and the Dublin Metropolitan Police were called out.

The police called for military assistance, so a detachment of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers based in Kilmainham was sent.

A riot ensued between the authorities & the volunteers; the authorities were unable to seize the weapons as during the riot they were quickly led away by the Fianna Eireann.

On their return to the barracks, a crowd had gathered in Bachelors Walk and began heckling the soldiers who responded by firing a volley into the crowd.

Three people were killed instantly Mrs Duffy, James Brennan and Patrick Quinn with thirty-eight injured. One man died later of bayonet wounds.

The Bachelor’s Walk massacre as it became known caused revulsion across Ireland and swelled the ranks of the volunteers.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/101874405569623/posts/pfbid02FXKgrpn6Lr3gTJzmjVdrJDhk476Hypz24RKC7cGw1Py4inE56gXsvf5u4vLfCh9sl/

See also : https://www.theirishstory.com/2014/07/26/today-in-irish-history-july-26th-1914-the-howth-gun-running/?fbclid=IwAR3EkQtFQZdIjQT5vmVA4mhlC9krMLPLKB4UoNnB1h5bXC4MdWh2h_DIOjU#.Yt-0sr3TWf3

Conor Kostick discusses Evasionism :

There is a type of left argument around the war in Ukraine which has arisen in the West. It is one that condemns Putin’s invasion, but refuses to offer practical support to the people of Ukraine in resisting that invasion. It is the position one can read in Jacobin, or in statements by Chomsky, Corbyn, and the Stop the War Coalition in the UK. In Ireland we have the same type of response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine from People Before Profit and the Socialist Party of Ireland.

I will use the label Evasionist Left for this approach. It’s not clear how representative this trend is internationally, as many on the left do pro-actively support the resistance in Ukraine, e.g. parties such Razem in Poland; those associated with the Fourth International like Left Bloc and the Danish Red Green Alliance; and the main left party in Japan, the Japanese Communist Party.

Source : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/04/28/evasions-on-the-left-over-ukraine-conor-kostick-independent-left-ireland/